"I've been waking up at sunrise / I've been following the light across my room / I watch the night receive the room of my day . . ." (Paul Simon)
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Follow the Leader
Last Monday, after almost two years of following, I took my first country-western dance lesson as a leader. It was actually a waltz class, not two-step; they alternate them. I was surprised to find that it didn't go as terribly as I had feared. Waltzing is a lot simpler than two-stepping, so I decided to take the plunge in that dance first. Tomorrow is the second (and final) waltz lesson of this particular round. I'll try leading two-step when the next four-week session of that begins in January. On Friday, I waltzed as a leader for the first time on a regular open-dance night, with a full dance floor. My partner was a (versatile) friend with whom I've danced a lot and who I knew would be patient with me. It went well, but I didn't want to push my luck, so for the rest of the evening I followed.
I took a long walk along the C&O Canal today with a new friend. It's nice to see so much color still on the trees so late in the season, so close to Thanksgiving -- the upside of this year's drought followed by the belated fall rains. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the reds and golds are disappearing or just emerging, like a kind of springtime in reverse. We stopped for a while by the river on the other side of the path. Then as we started back, I noticed my cell phone was missing from my back pocket. We went back to our spot, and there it was nestled in some leaves. Just before I saw it, D. dialed my number from his cell. As I bent to pick the phone up, it was ringing. I answered it, and he stayed on the line.
As I read this question to Ask Amy this morning, I thought, "Come on, Amy -- say it, say it! You know it's true." She said it. I knew she would.
"Dear Amy: My 18-year-old son recently started college on a baseball scholarship. I'm so proud! He is having problems with 'Melissa,' his girlfriend of more than two years because of this.
"His college is several hours away from her, and now they get to see each other only on the weekends. This doesn't seem to bother him too much, but it is driving his girlfriend crazy! She spends most of her time with him crying and complaining that she doesn't get to see him enough. She makes it impossible for him to go back to school Sundays (crying that the weekend is over).
"When he's at school, he sounds good and says everything is OK, but when he's with her his attitude changes.
"She has tried several times to persuade him to quit school, which is pretty selfish, I think. My son has mentioned shaving his head so she won't worry about other girls looking at him.
"I suggested getting rid of the girlfriend instead.
"What is the best way to deal with her and her insecurities?
-- Helpless Mom"
"Dear Helpless: 'Melissa' sounds insecure, controlling and even abusive. Some of this might be a result of simple immaturity. It's normal to be sad and upset over a separation in a long-distance relationship, but her behavior takes the drama to an unfortunate level. Secondly, everybody knows that bald guys are hot.
"You should continue to be supportive of your son's college goals. Don't push too hard on the girlfriend front, but if he asks tell him that if Melissa really loved him she would also support his goals and dreams. Point out that he doesn't seem happy when he's with her. "When baseball season starts, he's not going to be as available to her; for her sake as well as his own, maybe he should set her free well before practices begin."
Well, I'm back two-stepping. Maybe you wondered. Or maybe you didn't know I'd been away.
Two thousand six was all about the two-stepping. Two thousand seven, not so much. That was all about the home. When I'd go back, sporadically, my head was elsewhere. Or everyone else's head was elsewhere. Not turned toward me.
I made a decision to start going back regularly a couple of weeks ago. I've been wanting more connection in my life. And that's what I'm starting to find.
After an adult lifetime of resisting book groups (I just didn't see the point -- why would I want to sit around talking about a book? I wasn't in graduate school anymore), I'm not only now in one, but I started it.
Despite the fact that I give people the impression of being a voracious reader (I ran into a former student on the bus recently, and he said that very thing), I'm anything but -- I'm slow, I'm easily distracted. I wasn't getting enough reading done.
I also wasn't seeing enough of my friends. So I hand-picked the members (a half-dozen gay men d'un certain âge), we had an initial get-to-know you potluck two months ago (since I knew everyone, but not everyone else knew everyone), and our first official bimonthly meeting is this Sunday. Unfortunately, the book, which I haven't finished yet, is leaving a lot to be desired (and I'm not the only one who thinks so, apparently). But that's all I'll say about it for now.